Not too long ago, I started requiring most students to pay by the month rather than lesson-by-lesson. Students and parents were very supportive for the most part. I let them know the month before via MailChimp and laid out the new policy. It's now in the studio policy that student and parent (if applicable) sign. Payment for the month is due at the first lesson of the month. If they know that they won't be at a lesson, then the payment is adjusted. Similarly, if they notify me 24 hours in advance that they won't be at a lesson, then they get credit toward the next month. The student and/or parent signs a studio policy agreeing to this.
Why did I decide to go to monthly payments? The majority of my lessons take place out of a music store and I pay rent for studio space per half hour. Students weren't showing up or were notifying me after I had already paid the fee. With this plan, I know ahead of time when to schedule studio space. Turns out, this was a great move for my studio! It's also a good way to keep me accountable.
I got a receipt book and also have a spreadsheet with payment/role, then I can see who has paid for what.
Now, I think I've used this method for less than a year, so I'm not a big expert on it, but so far it seems to be working out well! It can be a little difficult to enforce, and I'm not perfect, but for the most part it seems to be a really good plan. It also makes for less checks to record and less lesson time spent on taking care of the business side. A plus side for the parents is that they only have to think about the payment once a month.
I touched on this above, but if a lesson is cancelled after the student has paid (illness, etc.), then you can just add a lesson's credit to the following month. It can also keep you motivated to schedule ahead and keep your scheduled lessons.
These are just some musings on what's been working for me. What about you? Do you charge per lesson or by the month or term? Let me know in the comments!
Welcome to the blog! I'm Barbara, and I work as a freelance harpist and private music educator. You can read my bio here. On the blog, you can find posts about various aspects of this career path, especially teaching and crafty stuff. Thank you for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you in the comments or on social media. And don't forget to subscribe to the email list for updates!
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